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James R. Hines, Barbara Turchin and Nicholas Michael Butler

(b Hesse-Kassel, Germany, c1786; d New York, NY, July 30, 1829). American theater manager, pianist, organist, composer, and music publisher of German birth. He moved to the United States at the end of the 18th century and was probably related to the musician George Gilfert who was in New York as early at 1789. In his first New York advertisement in 1800, he was described as a musician “lately from Europe.” The New York directory of 1805 lists him as a music teacher in that city, but in 1806 he migrated to Charleston, South Carolina, with a number of other theater musicians. He presented his first concert there on 3 March 1807 and quickly became a favorite member of the local music scene. In December 1809 he became the organist of St. John’s Lutheran Church, and in December 1810 he opened a music store in partnership with a fellow German musician, Philip Muck, under the name C. Gilfert and Company. This institution chiefly sold imported instruments, accessories, and music, but in early ...

Article

Samuel F. Pogue

revised by Frank Dobbins

(fl Lyons, 1550–84). French music printer, bookseller, composer and instrumentalist. In 1551 he prepared the third in a series of four books of music for guitar printed in Paris by Robert Granjon and Michel Fezandat (RISM 1551²²). In the dedication Gorlier wrote apologetically of the four-course guitar and his reasons for composing for an inferior instrument, saying that he wanted to show that it was as capable as larger instruments of reproducing music in two or three parts. Besides being an ‘excellent joueur’ on the guitar, as cited on the title-page, he evidently played the spinet; in a pamphlet (now lost) concerning Loys Bourgeois’ Droict chemin de musique (1550) Bourgeois called him ‘trougnon d’épinette’ (‘garbage of the spinet’) and complained that he had not been educated in classical languages and mathematics like the singer-composers in Lyons, Layolle Roussel and Jambe de Fer.

Gorlier was granted a privilege for printing music on ...

Article

Barbara Palfy

(b Kansas City, MO, Jan 12, 1884; d New York, Jan 12, 1964). American pianist, composer, music director, writer, and editor. Horst grew up in a German family that prized music and he first studied violin. After elementary school, the end of his formal education, he took up piano, honed his skills, and soon supported himself as a musician, playing ragtime and improvisations in dance and gambling halls, performing with theater pit orchestras, and accompanying solo classical recitalists.

On the West Coast in 1915, Horst encountered Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn, who hired him as accompanist for their Denishawn company and subsequently as music director of their new school. He remained for ten years. Immersed in the developing new abstract form of dancing, he examined the relationship of music to dance, especially through St. Denis’s “music visualizations.” He began to study musical structure and composition, and left Denishawn to continue learning in Vienna and becoming better informed in contemporary theater, art, literature, and film—knowledge he passed on to future choreographers in his book (with Caroll Russell) ...

Article

Don Cusic

[Ragsdale, Harold Ray ]

(b Clarkdale, GA, Jan 24, 1939). American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, arranger, music publisher, television star, and entrepreneur. Harold Ragsdale began his musical career with a high school band that played R&B songs by the Coasters, Drifters, and other R&B groups. In 1955 the family moved to Atlanta, where publisher Bill Lowery signed him as a songwriter and secured his first recording contract with Capitol Records; Capitol’s Head of A&R, Ken Nelson changed Ragsdale’s name to Ray Stevens. After attending Georgia State University, where he studied music, Stevens had his first success with his recording of “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” (Mercury, 1961). In 1962 he moved to Nashville, supplementing his own recording career with work as a session musician, arranger, and background vocalist. He garnered a number-one pop hit and his first Grammy with his recording of “Everything is beautiful” (Barnaby, ...

Article

Barry S. Brook

(b Wehrsdorf, nr Bautzen, Feb 2, 1748; d Leipzig, Sept 12, 1806). German impresario, composer, horn player, writer on music and publisher. He attended the Gymnasium in Bautzen for seven years; in 1770 he began studying law at Leipzig University but within a year turned to music, becoming first horn player for the Grosse Concert-Gesellschaft in 1771. In 1776 he founded a music copying business and manuscript storehouse, producing a large thematic catalogue (rivalling Breitkopf’s) that he sold in manuscript. He described this catalogue (of manuscript works available for copying) and his idealistic plans for the storehouse in a series of pamphlets published between 1778 and 1781. From 1782 he sponsored a series of independent concerts in Leipzig, later producing the Gewandhaus concerts, Dilettanten concerts and Stadtmusik, and undertaking concert tours as far as Dresden, Hamburg and Prague. In addition to works by Haydn, Mozart and others, he performed a number of his own compositions. In ...